NEWS

Olympic troubleshooter named

The government’s secretary-general for the Olympic Games, a former senior official in the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee, was named «city manager» yesterday, making him responsible for overseeing the smooth running of the greater Athens area during the August 13-29 Games. Spyros Kapralos was appointed by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, following a proposal by the government’s top Olympics official, Alternate Culture Minister Fanni Palli-Petralia. His job will be to monitor, on a daily basis, what government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos called the «managment of the way the greater Athens area functions.» Kapralos will be seconded by one representative each from the Games organizing committee and the Municipality of Athens. His appointment is seen as a compromise solution meant to overcome feuding among the organizing committee, municipal authorities and Culture Ministry officials over who should have the overall responsibility for Olympic troubleshooting in Athens. Kapralos’s potential worries could involve strikes, rubbish disposal problems and the capital’s chronically congested road network, a large chunk of which will be set off limits to local motorists in order to ensure the free flow of Olympic-related traffic. During the Games, ordinary traffic will be contained to one lane on most of the city’s major thoroughfares. A second lane will be used by public transport, while the rest of the road will be set aside for the exclusive use of vehicles carrying officials and athletes, as well as ambulances, fire engines and police vehicles. The restrictions are due to come into effect on July 20.